A male caracal was taken to the Belmont Veterinary Hospital after being hit by a car in Rhodes Drive, Newlands, on Monday.
A passing motorist who witnessed the accident was brave enough to stop and pick up the stunned animal. The vehicle that struck the cat allegedly drove away without stopping.
Belmont Veterinary Hospital informed the Cape of Good Hope SPCA of the incident the following morning. The animal had been treated by the veterinarians at Belmont Veterinary Hospital overnight.
A Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Officer, Jon Friedman, was dispatched. “The cat had been placed in a cage, on a drip and was awake but still quite sedated when I arrived to collect it,” Friedman reported.
X-rays that were done by the attending veterinarians showed the animal had sustained mild injuries and there were no signs of internal injury or fractures. The caracal did show signs of having a concussion.
The cat was sedated and treated with a sodium lactate drip and given pain medication by the veterinarians. The animal was then transferred to the SPCA’s Wildlife Unit where the drip was continued. The caracal was then re-assessed by the SPCA’s veterinarian, Dr Spamer.
Additional consultation was sought from Panthera Africa, who are experienced in dealing with caracals. Panthera Africa provided feeding guidelines and gave advice on managing a concussion. In addition, The Urban Caracal Project was contacted to confirm if the animal reflected on their records. The caracal had not been registered with them before and they requested that the SPCA take fur and blood samples for their studies.
After 72 hours of careful monitoring by Jon Friedman, the cat showed signs of improvement and recovery. “He began eating well and responding to audio and visual stimulus and was recorded moving around his enclosure at night. After four days it was clear that he was ready for release back into his natural range.”
CapeNature was notified of the incident and provided guidance as to where the animal should best be re-released according to their data triangulated to where the animal was originally found. The male caracal was released back into the wild on Thursday 5 May 2022.
“It is always inspiring to be able to see an injured animal recover enough to be released back into the wild, even more so when it is an animal which we don’t often encounter such as the elusive caracal cat. The fact that caracals are the last big predator species on the Cape Peninsula makes this recovery and release extra special,” Friedman concluded.
The Urban Caracal Project
The Urban Caracal Project aims to protect biodiversity through research and conservation. It operates through the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild) at the University of Cape Town.
The Cape Town metropolitan region, which includes the Table Mountain National Park, is a fragmented habitat for caracals, with a likely population size of 48 to 64 caracals. With Cape Town’s rapid urbanisation, caracals are the city’s largest remaining indigenous predator.
Urbanisation equals increased threat on caracals. Humans impact the landscape which has downstream consequences for biodiversity conservation.
Please immediately report all road kill caracals in the Cape Town area to Dr. Serieys at [email protected] or 079 837 8814.
- Report other caracal sightings HERE.
Picture: Cape of Good Hope SPCA